Boasting an enthralling voice many have regarded as reminiscent of Billie Holiday's, Madeleine Peyroux burst onto the music scene eight years ago with the extremely successful release of Dreamland. Championed by major publications such as The New York Times and Time Magazine, Peyroux was immediately recognized as a remarkably talented singer with a promising future. With the release of her long awaited follow-up album Careless Love, Peyroux's potential as an artist is truly realized. Her smoky voice and knowing delivery make each song her own, whether she's singing vintage tunes by W.C. Handy and Hank Williams, or contemporary songs by Leonard Cohen and Elliott Smith. Producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin) weaves strands of acoustic blues, country ballads, classic jazz, torch songs and pop into a vibrant fabric that is both timeless and thoroughly up to date, with Peyroux's arresting vocals always front and center.
When Madeleine Peyroux's debut, Dreamland, was released in 1996, its success threw her for a loop. She's taken eight years to create this follow-up, and, at age 30, she brings a confidence and resilience to this dozen-song set. She's able to move seamlessly between songs by writers as diverse as Elliott Smith and W.C. Handy, whose title track was popularized by Bessie Smith. Though American-born, Peyroux absorbed the language and culture of France growing up in Paris with her French-teacher mother. On her debut, she covered Edith Piaf, and this time out she wraps herself around "J'ai Deux Amours," which Josephine Baker sang to the Allied troops during World War II. --David Greenberger